Rage Against the Machine: Nutritional Confusion

This morning I stopped by a friend’s cubicle at work and she was taking a quiz on nutrition (sponsored by a fitness & lifestyle program available to us through our jobs). It was a true/false quiz and since I was there and she knows I’m a nutrition geek, she asked me what I thought the answers to a couple of the questions were.

Q1: Is there a nutritional difference between red fruits and purple or orange fruits?

Q2: Americans eat more fruits than vegetables in their daily diets.

First of all, before I get any further, let me clarify that I am BAD at True/False quizzes. I suspect this is because I’m a very analytical person and can set up explanations in my head that make both answers acceptable. So then, I never know what to choose. This makes me think True/False quizzes are junk and are not an acceptable testing format. Read as “I hate True/False Quizes.”

Okay, on Q1, the first logical answer is that, “of course there’s a nutritional difference between different colored fruits.” But then I started thinking antioxidants. I vaguely remember that the darker/richer colored fruits are usually higher in antioxidants so red, purple, and orange fruits would be higher in antioxidants. So while their nutritional profiles may vary, and antioxidant counts may vary, generally these are all higher in antioxidants and one of the key reasons “they” recommend we eat the darker/colorful fruits.

The simple answer was the right answer – True, there are nutritional differences between red fruits and purple or orange fruits.

So, for Q2, my first logical answer was fruits. Americans eat more fruit than vegetables on a daily basis because fruit is sweet, easily portable, and more easily accessible and consumable (in my opinion) than vegetables. Vegetables take effort to make taste good (again, my opinion) but fruit is pretty awesome tasting all on its own. This seems to me like the obvious and simple answer and I decide to go with “True. American’s do eat more fruits than vegetables.”

Was I right? NO!

I was wrong because they decided to get tricky (the a**holes – this is another reason why I HATE true/false quizzes, you never know if they’re using straightforward information or purposely trying to stump you).

According to them, American’s eat more vegetables than they do fruits.

Does that seem right to you people? Does it? Honestly? Well, you find out exactly why American’s eat more vegetables than fruits in the explanation of why the answer is wrong.

Get ready for this . . .

American’s eat more vegetables when potatoes and chips are counted as a vegetable.

*&$@*$&@*&#!!!!

First of all, who the frack is allowing potatoes and potato chips to be counted as a vegetable? Potatoes and potato chips are fracking STARCHES you a**holes! They’ve not been classified as vegetables (loosely classified) since the 80’s and the 3-Squares a day nutritional approach.

And if they’re letting potatoes and chips be counted as a vegetable, you can bet corn is also considered a vegetable (yes, corn is also a starch, deal with it).

For the record, potatoes or any of its byproducts, and corn or any of its byproducts, are starches!

Do you want to know why we’re fatter in America today? Because people who have NO BUSINESS defining nutrition are taking wild and random stabs at it and preaching their best guesses (or their agenda) as nutritionally “it.” Today we’ve got “health” programs building their entire approach around people’s best guesses and agenda’s.

This makes it a guessing game for each and every American. It’s daunting to figure out how to eat for optimal health and more often than not, people throw their hands up in frustration and say “Screw it.”

It was never this complicated or confusing 50 years ago and people barely expended energy worrying about what to eat.

If you want to eat healthier, look to history. Look to a time before food production was industrialized. What foods were readily available at the local market? Animal products, vegetables, fruits, and grains; these were your choices.

While I have mixed feelings on grains and their role in a healthy diet, I’m not going to say absolutely no grains. I think the first step to eating healthier is to focus on whole foods, even whole grains. Avoid the middle aisles of a grocery store unless you have to venture in for olive oil and spices and nuts.

When you’ve got whole foods down, then you can look at the next steps of optimal nutrition. Start asking if you are thriving on certain foods or food groups in your diet. Maybe dairy or grains are a problem for you and eliminating them will do wonders for your health.

You don’t have to take this on all at once. Finding and understanding optimal nutrition for our individual bodies is a process, a vital process to our well-being, but a process none-the-less. Baby steps.

What small change can you make today to move you towards optimal nutrition?

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